As lifters, we don’t need to bring a lot to the gym with us to train. However, we all need a pair of good workout shoes (you could go barefoot but that’s a different topic!). Using the right workout shoe for the job could mean the difference between a successful workout and a failure; or even worse, receiving an injury. In this article, we will go over 30 different shoes for weightlifting, running, and general cross-training. It’s a lot so let’s get started…
Best Cross Training Shoes
If you can only have 1 pair of shoes for training, it should be a pair of good cross-training shoes. Even if you have a bunch of shoes, you should still have a good pair of cross-training shoes. These shoes are supposed to be able to “cross” well into multiple activities. Run, lifting, rowing…these are down for anything.
1. Reebok Women’s Nano 9.0 CrossFit Shoes
We are starting off with an absolute classic. The Reebok Nano 9.0. Up until 2020, Reebok was the official sponsor of Crossfit basically making these shoes the official shoes for Crossfit. That alone should give you an idea of their functionality. These are the 9th edition and are said to be an accumulation of all the favorite parts of past shoes. Sporting a “cross-weave” form, these shoes are flat and light making them perfect for heavy lifting, double-unders, or a 10k run.
- Flat sole and “cross-weave” for maximal functionality
- A classic shoe that has been proven
- Huge variety of colors
- A bit expensive (but they are known to have flash sales!)
Reebok Nano 9.0 is the epitome of cross-training shoes. If you’re not in a rush, sign up for an account to get notices of flash sales.
2. Reebok Nano Men’s 9 Cross Trainer Shoes
These are the men’s version of the Reebok Nano 9.0 and they are going to offer you the same thing. With their flat soles for ultimate stability and cross-weave upper, you are going to be able to perform any activity you want. Plus, you have 30 color variations to choose from. Just keep in mind that prices do vary by the popularity in the color scheme.
- Extra room in the foot box
- Flex-weave in the upper
- Flat sole for stability
- HUGE range of colors
- Might want to wait for a sale if you’re on a budget (Or buy the shoe below!)
Again, the epitome of cross-trainers. Nothing much else to say.
3. Reebok Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Sneaker
Another Reebok Nano…this time the 8.0. This is the version just before the 9.0. Nano 8.0 is the first model in which Reebok introduced their flexweave material in the upper for breathability and comfort. Many owners say they are extremely comfortable and can be worn with or without socks. While many think the 9.0 looks better, these are amazing shoes. Being that they’re an earlier version, you may be able to find a better price.
- Classic shoe
- Everything you want in a cross-training shoe
- Specifically made for CrossFit
- May be able to find good deals
- It may not be aesthetically pleasing to everyone
- Some report it takes a couple of weeks to break-in
4. Reebok Women’s CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross Trainer
These Nano 8.0 offer the same quality as above but made for women. The only real difference is that these come in slightly more colors and offer different color schemes. For some reason, there seems to be more of a complaint concerning the toe box being too small and lack of support for flat feet. However, these complaints are minimal.
- Same quality as all other Reebok Nanos
- Not ideal for wide or flat feet
One of the best cross trainers on the market.
5. Reebok Men’s Nano 2.0 Cross Trainer CROSSFIT Shoes
Another Reebok Nano. This time, the sophomore edition. This edition of the Reebok Nano looks much different from the 8.0 or 9.0. This is primarily due to the introduction of the flexweave and has a traditional upper. Another big difference is in the sole. The 2.0 is much “meatier” and looks more like a running shoe. This will have some effect on heavy lifting so if you love doing heavy deadlifts and squats, you may be happier with the 8.0 or 9.0. There is a bit of disagreement on if the toe box is too wide or too narrow. Still, it’s the Nano. It was an earlier edition and a lot of time has passed to work on flaws but some people actually prefer these to newer versions.
- Firm sole
- Can find good sales if you search
- Still a Nano
- May be better for those looking for a running cross trainer
- Confusion on toe box room for wide feet
- Not the best version for heavy lifting
Many professional Crossfitters have competed very well with these shoes over time. While I would not pay full price on these, if you find some on sale, I would definitely get a pair. Even for some extras.
6. Under Armour Men’s Speedform Feel Cross Trainer Shoes
These shoes from Under Armour are their response to the Nanos. First, these shoes look really cool with a very simplistic design. You can also immediately tell what they are designed for as they have a firm sole and a visible low heel drop (2mm). A huge difference in comparison to the newer Nano is that these have a rubber upper that wraps around the lateral and medial. This will provide extra stability. Many users have commented that they are amazing in the gym, specifically for high-intensity interval training, but they do warn runners as they do not give the stability or support needed for long-distance running.
- Look great
- Very stable sole with a low drop (perfect for weight lifting)
- Specific reviews on performance
- Not great for long-distance runners
Thanks to Crossfit, the Reebok Nano has a lot of clout in the cross-training shoe sector. However, these shoes from Under Armour may allow them to break in this field. These look great and many reviews vouch for them
7. Nobull Men’s Training Shoes
Nobull training shoes are relatively new in the industry. One area where they stand out is that the brand primarily specializes in cross-training shoes. You may be confused when you see these and think they are boat shoes as many people comment on their “boring” look. However, they perform amazing which is what they are designed for. They have flat soles designed to give plenty of stability for deadlifts and squats but enough grip to be used for running, which is what you want in a good cross-trainer. The uppers are made from a seamless material they call “Superfabric” which is extremely durable yet breathable. Great for rope climbs and “defending against zombies”
- Specific brand
- Flat sole for lifting
- Seamless “Superfabric” on the upper
- Wide toe box
- Not most aesthetically pleasing
Although new, Nobull has made a name for themselves thanks to the quality of their shoes and reported performance.
8. Nobull Women’s Training Shoes
Similar to the women’s Nano 8’s, these are identical to the men’s version yet offers slightly more “girl” colors.
- Superfabric guard
- Lateral and medial guards
- Wide, flat base
- Still expensive
While a great performance shoe, it’s hard to justify the price.
9. Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 Cross-Training Shoe
Inov-8 brings these low profile workout shoes with a minimalistic design shoe to the table. If you like training bare foot, these are going to feel good as they are very low to the ground (3mm) with a zero drop. They have a sticky rubber outsole to give maximum grip for training in the gym. They are specifically designed for Crossfit or other similar HIIT workouts and you will look great wearing them
- 0mm drop
- Sticky rubber sole
- Sleek design
- Sizing is off, order 1/2 size down
- Price varies by size and color, spotty selection
10. Nike Women’s Metcon 5
If the Reebok had a competitor for best workout shoes, it would be the Metcon line from Nike. This 5th edition features a light sandwich breathable mesh upper with haptic 3D print for maximal comfort. The tongue is padded and wide so it wraps around the ankle for an extra snug fit. The Metcon 5 features a 10% denser foam midsole and a TPU heel for the firmness you need when lifting. One unique design is the Hyperlift insert which can increase the heel from 4mm to 12mm. This means you have a shoe perfect for running and box jumps but can easily be made into a weightlifting shoe for your heavy squats and weight training. Almost like two shoes in one!
- Removable Hyperlift insert
- Dense foam midsole and TPU heel
- Snug tongue
- Very comfortable
- Some issues with orthopedic inserts
- Not for flat feet
As a stand-alone cross trainer, the Metcon 5 are a great shoe with very high reviews. However, the Hyperlift really makes them stand out. Maybe not as good as a weightlifting specific shoe, they could prove very beneficial for those on a budget or if one wants to get a better feel before buying a separate pair.
11. Nike Men’s Metcon 2
The second edition of the Metcon. Compared to the first edition, Nike made a few improvements; firmer sole, improved sock liner, TPU heel clip, outer coating to assist with movements like rope climbs. The Metcon 2 also comes with a removable insert which brings a shoe that is virtually flat, to one with a 1/2″ rise. These seem to be sized small so when ordering, it’s recommended to order 1/2 size up.
• Removable insert
• TPU heel clip
• Grippy outside
• Very firm sole
• Sizing issues
• Difficult to find size and color combination
The Nike Metcon is a great shoe. However, it’s also the 2nd edition which means Nike has had quite a few editions to improve on. We would not pay full price but would definitely buy a pair when seen on sale.
12. New Balance Women’s Minimus 20 V7 Cross Trainer
New Balance has an impressive track record when it comes to running shoes and has brought some of their minimalistic ideas to these cross-trainers. The upper is made from “nylon-infused” yarn to give the ultimate combination of support and flexibility. They teamed up with Vibram for the outsole which is composed of 1 piece for superior grip. The sole is very thin which feel like you’re barefoot. They only have a 4-star review on Amazon which brings in some questions.
• Minimalist experts
• Nylon-infused yarn
• Vibram outsole
• 4-star review
• No support
While many people love them, to compete with the Reebok Nano or Nike Metcon, you need more than a 4-star review.
13. Adidas Men’s Crazytrain Elite M Cross Trainer
Adidas brings their Crazytrain Elites to the cross-training world. The upper is basic and made from 100% textile and synthetic. The insole features Adidas signature Boost for comfort. The sole is comprised of a TPU midsole. These shoes look sleek and come at a great price. However, available sizes seem limited.
• Boost insole
• TPU midsole
• Flexible upper
• Limited availability
These shoes look like a great pair of basic trainers and would be a nice addition, especially at their price. You may just need to spend some time finding your size.
14. ASICS Men’s Conviction X Cross-Trainer Shoe
The Conviction X Cross for ASICS is made from a durable RhynoSkin synthetic leather upper. Its perforated sock liner helps to keep the feet cool and dry. The soles are flat and wide for the stability needed for lifting heavy weight. For some reason, there is a hole built into the sole which inadvertently allows any water or small debris to come in. We’re sure there is a purpose but not sure what.
• Durable, synthetic leather upper
• Flat and wide base
• Perforated sock liner
• Questionable hole built-in
I would stay away from the price and the hole in the sole
15. NIKE Men’s Tanjun Sneakers, Breathable Textile Uppers and Comfortable Lightweight Cushioning
Nike offers the Tanjun as an everyday, lightweight cross-trainer. The upper is made from a mesh material which gives its lightweight feel. Other than that, there’s not too much information on these. A good portion of reviews claims they are the most comfortable shoes ever while others claim their knees hurt after wearing them for long periods. These seem to be more geared as a walking shoe rather than a specific cross-training shoe
• Good, everyday shoe
• Not built for performance
Get the Metcons for a cross-training shoe
16. Vibram Men’s KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe
Vibram’s KSO EVO is a true minimal shoe that feels like you’re just wearing socks. The upper is made of a synthetic textile that utilized a draw-string tie for quick tightening. The form-fitting design will fit snuggly around your foot when pulled tight. The sole is made from the patented Vibram, designed for ultimate traction yet minimalist, thin feel. Rather than a traditional, single toe box, the KSO Evo features a 5-toed box to further enhance the barefoot feel. If you want a minimalist this is your shoe.
- A leader in minimalist shoes
- Draw-string quick tie
- Snug, sock-like fit
- Vibram sole
- Maybe too minimalist for some
- Can be pricey
Training barefoot has many benefits and these replicate it the best. However, if you are new to minimalist shoes, these may be too extreme for your first pair.
17. Under Armour Men’s Commit Cross Trainer
The last cross-training specific shoe comes from Under Armour. Their upper is made from a mesh while a leather saddle wraps around the forefoot for extra durability and stability. The sole is made of a “Charged Cushioning” rubber. These do have a much higher offset of 10mm. The inside sock liner is 4D and said to form to the foot after multiple wears. Compared to other shoes on this list, it looks a bit beefier..
• Extra stability around the ankle and forefoot
• 4D sock liner
• Rubber, anti-slip sole
- • Multiple complaints regarding the heel cutting
These look the most durable out of all the shoes on the list. However, durability doesn’t transfer to performance.
18. Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe
Under Armour offers a neutral running shoe with their Charged Assert. The midfoot is locked in with a leather overlay with the rest of the upper being made from a lightweight mesh. The outsole is a hard rubber with a Charged Cushioning midsole. This shoe offers a happy balance of flexibility, stability, and light weight.
• Charged Cushioning
• Leather overlay for snugness
• EVA sock lining
- Not may actual running reviews
While these are definitely a great general shoe, it’s difficult to comment on its performance as a running shoe since many reviewers don’t seem to be actual runners
19. Nike Women’s Running Shoes
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus is one of the most beloved running shoes on the market. This can be seen in its 4.5-star review on Amazon from close to 3,000 reviewers. These shoes feature a lightweight upper to keep the shoe light for your long runs. On the bottom, the Pegasus sports a consistent React foam for ultimate cushioning and is what buyers rave about. The ankle is low cut which is common for long-distance running shoes, however, come to complain of no ankle support.
• React cushioning
• Very lightweight
• Perfect for long runs or intervals
• Heel slippage
• Low ankle support
The Nike Pegasus is one of the best running shoes for trained runners. If you are new to running, you may want a shoe with a little more support
Best Running Shoes
If you plan on doing a lot of running, you may need a shoe specifically designed for running. Running shoes will generally have more cushion, stability, and traction. This is to help with shock absorption and give the support runners need when they put a bunch of miles on the road. Even though these shoes are running specific and not great for heavy lifting, they can still act as a general gym shoe or just to run around town.
20. Nike Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Running Shoe
This is the men’s version of the Pegasus and offers the same high-quality running shoe. However, one main difference is that there seem to be significantly more complaints concerning stability and support.
• Very high-quality
• Well suited for lighter men
• More men complain compared to women
• Not enough support for larger guys and long runs
If you are a lighter man or experienced runner, the Nike Pegasus will be an excellent shoe to have. However, bigger guys may want to look elsewhere
21. ASICS Men’s GEL-Kayano 22 Running Shoe
The ASICS Kayano is another classic running shoe that is better equipped for bigger runners or those who want extra support in their running shoes. With their new design, the Kayano 22 is 15% lighter than the previous model. This new FluidRide sole is claimed to give 20% more bounce to aide in stride. Designed for over-pronators, this shoe will not let you down.
• One of the most respected brands in running
• 15% lighter
• Extra stability
• FluidRide cushioning
• Usually over $110
• Not for minimalists
As long as you are not caught up in the minimalist movement, the Kayano is an amazing shoe
22. Adidas Unisex-Kid’s Cloud Foam Racer TR
Kids need to run too! And Adidas delivers with their Kid’s Cloud Foam Racer TR. Constructed with the same quality as the adults, these running shoes are made with a trail-runner inspiration and a mesh upper. This means a lot of support and a grippy sole. These shoes can fit your 1-year-old toddler or a 12-year-old
• Huge range of sizes
• Cool style with a ton of colors
• Perfect for kids just walking or as an actual racing shoe
• Some combinations may be pricey
There is nothing wrong with getting your kids active when they are young. These shoes will do just that, looking cool at the same time
23. Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe
The New Balance Minimus is another awesome minimalist running shoe. Compared to the Vibrams, this more closely resembles a real shoe with its construction. Still, it is made to closely resemble barefoot running. These shoes are feather-light, constructed with a breezy upper mesh. The bottom is constructed of a Vibram sole which has a zero drop so you know it’s top quality. They boast a 4.5-star rating from 1,500 reviewers. These shoes are simple, basic, and top-quality. Exactly what you want in a minimalist running shoe.
• Light as a feather
• Durable Vibram sole
• Simple and Quality
• Perfect for barefoot runners
• Friendly Price
• The most common complaint concerns longevity
• Experienced barefoot runners
Merrell is one of the flagship brands in minimalist/barefoot running. These are a great pair of shoes which you can often find for less than $70. If you are interested in minimal running and see these for a good price, get them.
24. Vibram Women’s KSO EVO-W
These are the exact same as the Men’s KSO EVO except they are specially fitted for women and come in different color combinations. The reason they are in different categories is that they are used extensively in both fields; both in the gym and as a specific running shoe. If you want to run barefoot, these are the closest you can get while still wearing shoes.
• Same sock-like fit
• Made specifically to fit a woman’s foot
• Patented Vibram sole
• True minimalist shoe
• Not for beginner minimalists.
Minimalist/Barefoot running is a specific skill needed to learn. However, Vibram is arguably the best in the business if you are experienced or want a great shoe to start slow.
25. Under Armour Women’s HOVR Phantom Running Shoe
These shoes from Under Armour are one of the new “smart” shoes. It has a knit upper which comes up around the entire ankle. The soles are constructed with UA HOVR Technology which provides “zero-gravity feel” (The smart thing I was talking about). The sole has HOVR foam which is designed to provide energy to your stride. The outer sole is a rubber to add stability and traction when needed
• HOVR Technology creates zero gravity
• HOVR foam
• Very high ankle support
• Very light
• Looks expensive, not sure about the actual performance
As a general rule, I like to stay away from gimmicky shoes; including this one.
Best Weightlifting Shoes
Weightlifting shoes are the most specific shoe on the list and have no other purpose. That being said, they do their one job very well. That is to give an athlete the stability they need when moving big weight. Weightlifting shoes will have very flat, and solid soles and generally have heels that are noticeably raised. Further, they offer much more support on the upper. If you want to get serious with weightlifting, a good pair of weight lifting shoes can immediately improve your performance when strength training with a barbell.
26. Reebok Women’s Legacy Lifter
Reebok makes arguably the greatest crosstraining shoe there is. Their Legacy Lifter comes with a similar reputation. First, these shoes look awesome with their design of synthetic leather, mesh, and two overlaying straps. These weightlifting shoes offer a wide base for stability which many reviewers commenting as “the most stable shoes ever”. They feature a 22mm drop and “extra-hard TPU clip” to add to the stability. The inside is lined with 100% ETC microbial lining which allows for the hardest workout without accumulating any funky smells.
• 22mm drop for mobility
• Multiple straps for stability
• Anti-microbial lining
• Wide toe box and flat base
• Might want to wait for a sale
Great shoes come with a “great price”…but they’re worth it!
27. Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
Do-Win weightlifting shoe is a weightlifting specific brand initially started with the advice of legendary coach Glenn Pendlay. Being so, they do a very good job at a much friendlier price than other options. It is composed of a leather upper with nylon mesh to give it a durable yet breathable construction. It comes with two overlaying straps to give it an extra snug fit which is preferred by many lifters. The heel is hard and wide with a 0.75″ rise. The heel is constructed with very hard plastic to give ultimate pushing power.
• Friendly Price
• Created by Legendary Coach Glenn Pendlay
• .75″ heel which is the ideal height for Olympic lifting
• Dual straps for a tight fit
• Extremely stable
• Simple aesthetics?
• Narrow fit
• Not good for flat feet
Do-win is a great shoe for perhaps the most economical price…if your feet are a match
28. Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4 are an amazing pair of shoes for weight lifting. I personally own these so I’m biased, but I can tell you that these instantly improved my form and performance. The outer sole is entirely made from canvas giving it light but durable feel. The heel is constructed out of high-density EVA foam with a .6″ drop. This makes the height the perfect go-between and offers considerable aid with heavy squats. The lacing system comes with a velcro strap which helps with support. Reading reviews is enough to give you an idea of the quality that has become synonymous with this series. Plus, they have generally priced lower than many other lifting shoes thanks to their sleek and basic design. Be aware they are narrow and buyers are advised to buy a .5 size up
• Budget-friendly (relative, ha)
• Solid review on performance
• Very comfortable yet solid feel
• Perfect .6″ heel height for general use
• Narrow design
• Can be slippery on a wet surface
Perhaps the most respected lifting shoe on the market due to its price and performance. If you are interested in taking your weight lifting to the next level, you need these shoes!
29. Liftopus Weightlifting Shoes
Liftopus weightlifting shoes have a bit of a cheesy marketing gimmick (yes, its a mash of the words “lift” and “octopus”) but we won’t hold that against them. These weightlifting shoes are made from synthetic leather and knit fabric which is said to form to the foot over time. The sole is made from TPU plastic and anti-slip rubber for ultimate stability and shock absorption. They sport a .75″ heel which makes them more geared towards Olympic lifting but can be used for general lifting as well. This is a relatively new shoe and it is hard to find reviews so not much is known about actual performance. With it’s higher price tag, I’m not sure it will get many reviewers either.
• Ideal heel height for Olympic lifting
• TPU plastic for shock
• Form-fitting upper
• Price tag
• No reviews
There is not much information about the shoe’s performance. Being that there are proven shoes at a much lower price, such as Do-Win or Adidas Power Lift 4, it is hard to recommend these
Purchasing a pair of shoes can be summed up with the adage “the right tool for the right job”. When purchasing a pair of shoes for training, you need to put in some time looking at your needs for the sport you are participating in. After all, our feet are what give us the base we need to move and perform on. Use this guide, but if you have time, visit a store to try a pair on as everyone’s feet are different so a great shoe for me may not work for you. The bottom line is if you want to take your training seriously, take your shoes seriously. You won’t regret it!
What makes a good workout shoe?
A good workout shoe is one that is specifically designed for the activity in which you are participating. Therefore, a good running shoe is vastly different from a good weight lifting shoe. Ideally, you want a shoe with an established brand that puts quality and performance first.
Why is it important to pick the appropriate shoe for specific physical activities?
Different activities can require very different functions. For instance, a good weightlifting shoe needs a hard surface to push off of and a raised heel to aid with form. This makes it virtually impossible to run in. On the contrary, the cushion that is sought after in a running shoe can be detrimental to lifting as it creates an unstable surface under load.
How to choose the best shoes for every activity
• Flat, stable sole
• Light cushion
• Arch support
• Sole appropriate for running conditions
• Snug fit
High-Intensity Interval Training
• Flat, stable sole
• Light cushion
• Raised heel
• Flat and hard sole
• Flat, stable sole
• Light cushion
How to choose the best shoes for a specific foot condition
• Minimal arch support
• Wider platform
• Neutral shoe
• Wide toe box
• Closed heel
• Heel and toe support
• Extra room
• Large toe box
• Support in the heel
• Cushioning in heel and midsole
For Bad Back and Bad Knees
• High stability
• Extra cushion
Frequently Asked Questions
What are cross-training shoes?
“Cross-training” is a term used to describe participation in multiple different modes of sport. Running, weight lifting, speed work, etc. Much like Crossfit, a cross-training shoe won’t be specifically designed for any one sport. Instead, it will try to meet the needs of all of these as much as possible.
What is the best workout shoe?
This depends on what your “workout” is. Generally, the best workout shoe is a good cross trainer designed for training. Great examples are the Reebok Nano or Nike Metcon. Still, shoes are very individualistic so you will need to decide on your “best”.
Can I use running shoes for training?
Yes, however, depending on your shoe and what type of training you are doing, your performance can be hindered. This is seen most clearly when looking at big cushioned running shoes and movements which require a solid base such as deadlifts, squats, and overhead pressing. The cushioning which can be good for running creates an unstable, squishy base when lifting.
Are training shoes good for running?
Similar to the question above, yes. In fact, many cross trainers have running in mind when they design their shoes. However, this true for shorter distances. When you start running longer, the demand for a good running shoe is increased.